Vaccinating should not be negotiable

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Illustration by Tamara Turner

Measles resurgence in Europe, make sure immunized

by Alexis Tucker, Managing Editor

Children born now live in a time in which viral or bacterial diseases aren’t major causes for concern. Have the flu? Stay home, get some rest, and go to the doctor if it becomes too severe. Have strep throat? Take some antibiotics, and everything should be fine in a week or two. However, less than a lifetime ago, several high-profile diseases were still cause for concern. Polio, diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella and others caused serious problems and complications, and these diseases are especially harmful to children and infants.

Immunization was an important step for these diseases to be eradicated, and they cannot be foregone because of the way vaccinating works. For vaccines to be the most effective, every single person needs to be immunized; a scenario termed “herd immunity”. Herd immunity is if everyone is vaccinated, then less cases of the disease will occur, and the ones that do should be less severe or nonlethal. This protects people that can’t be immunized, including people with chronic illnesses, the immunocompromised and people allergic to vaccinations.

Though all vaccines are not 100% effective, they are still the most efficient way to combat outbreaks or resurfacing of now uncommon or eradicated diseases. The Measles vaccine has a 97% effectiveness rate, meaning 3 out of 100 people that are vaccinated will get Measles, and they will have milder symptoms than someone who has not been immunized.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of people infected with the measles or mumps in the past year have been unvaccinated. As of Oct. 6, there have been roughly 142 cases of the measles reported in the U.S. in 2018. Although that is not a high number of people, there is a massive outbreak in Europe with about 41,000 cases of measles reported this year in several countries, including France, Romania, and more. People are dying.

These diseases are preventable with vaccines, and with this surge of cases in Europe, it will mean there is the potential for many more outbreaks to occur here in America. Vaccinations or once widespread diseases should not be something parents prevent their children from obtaining. Vaccinating is a health issue, and should people, especially children, die because of an un-researched and unconfirmed what if?